Metro Manila Community Quarantine - Day 532
There's really not all that much you can do to celebrate an event like a birthday while still in quarantine, but one can try to make the most of what is available.
Things started with a late-night Facebook Room/video call with a few friends as Nico and I built our respective Everyone is Awesome Lego sets. The company of friends was nice even though it makes for weird background noise while we assembled the Lego sets and I ended up taking more time because I wanted to align all the Lego pieces in a particular fashion. Surprisingly that call lasted until around 3am, which was well after we finished building our sets. It was nice to just hang out, I guess.
Today started with a mix of errands and deliveries. I had ordered two different things for myself today - a Keto Filipino cake with additional Happy Birthday piping to feel a bit more festive and some sugar-free Black Mambo, which is a pudding-like dessert that I had found on Instagram. Between waiting for those deliveries and calling in our monthly medicine order for my parents, it was a rather logistics-heavy morning. Then I caught up with late blogging obligations from the night before, followed by a decent but non-strenuous yoga flow, I was ready for the rest of the day.
And all this was happening while Tobie was running a one-shot RPG session for some friends and friends of friends online, which is cool. Had I not had the medicine run to handle along with other errands, I probably would have joined the game. But the errands were a good enough reason to see my parents apart from delivering their meds.
So my trip to Mercury Drug was largely uneventful, which is always a good thing. Since I ordered ahead over the phone, I got to enjoy the long lines that have plagued the branch ever since the shift back to ECQ earlier this month. The lines still haven't cleared despite us being under MECQ, which is a bit of a surprise. And then I got to spend some time with the family - mainly my mom and my brother as we chatted about life and some birthday things.
Weird hiccups along the way as well. Our favorite restaurant, Sariwon turned out to be closed until the end of the month, and thus this marks the first weekend in a LONG time that we did not get to order from them. And it's not even like we're huge fans of Korean barbecue - admittedly your weekly orders are more to support the branch and try to make sure that they don't close permanently. I've documented the deaths of too many businesses around BGC over the past year and we're determined not to add them to that roster. So we had to opt to order somewhere else for lunch, which is always a bit of a challenge given my keto restrictions. Lunch was still okay, but it didn't feel as fun.
We also hit a new all-time high record for COVID-19 cases today at well over 19,000 cases. And who wants news like that on their birthday, right?
The evening was dedicated to another Pendragon RPG session. I had considered adding in a birthday element to today's game night like doing a birthday candle-blowing thing for my birthday, but the game itself was pretty involved so it felt weird to do so. And by the end players ended up dropping out individually due to real-life stuff coming into play, so the option of doing it at the end of the game session became moot.
And since there wasn't something special we could order for dinner, I ended up cooking a pasta dish that was similar to what I had cooked two other times earlier this week because birthday noodles are an important tradition of sorts. Eating it during the game wasn't the most exciting thing to do, but at least it was yummy - the additional capers gave it that extra oomph.
I'm not complaining, really. It's not like anyone knew I was considering doing this. There is no point in feeling bad about nothing overly special happening for your birthday if you didn't plan for anything special in the first place. I had avoided even organizing an online video conference sort of party for my birthday mainly because I wasn't in the mood for it nor did I want to face the possibility of being disappointed should people be unable to join or participate. So I recognize I dug my own hole there.
So my birthday was okay, but nothing amazing. All the social media greetings were nice, but that was the most birthday thing that happened. I almost aborted doing a birthday candle blowing at all since it felt weird for just me and Tobie to do it on our own, but Tobie insisted and so we did. It was nice but one can't quite shake off the notion that the whole birthday cake ceremony is a little performative and makes more sense when friends or family are around to celebrate with you. And our quarantine ensures that no one can physically be around to celebrate in that manner.
I do appreciate the fact that our FGTC gaming group made sure to organize our own little celebration much earlier this month. Should we still be stuck in quarantine next year, I'll definitely re-arrange the schedule to prioritize them as the gaming event during my birthday weekend instead of other groups. I guess it just makes more sense that way.
I kind of went into this birthday expecting things to be rather ordinary and not that different from other days in quarantine or other weekends while in quarantine. And that was sort of true, in the end - but the way I had mapped out the day practically guaranteed that outcome. Oh well.
So that was what my birthday was like, more or less. Welcome to the beginning of my 39th year.